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Burma's State-run Media Blackout On Bank Crisis - 2003-02-21


Burma's private banks have continued to suffer a run on deposits within the last two weeks, prompting restrictions on withdrawals and a ban on media coverage of the turmoil.

The Associated Press said Thursday that none of Burma's state-run daily newspapers and numerous private weekly journals have reported on the banking crisis. The news service says it spoke with the editor of a Burmese-language journal who said authorities asked publishers to refrain from mentioning the turmoil in order to avoid worsening it.

Rangoon says the panic run on deposits started because of wild rumors that several banks were going bankrupt.

Since February 10th, worried investors have gathered at banks to withdraw their money. Burma's Central Bank has slapped a maximum withdrawal on individuals of 500,000 kyat a week -- about 81,000 dollars.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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